Bad behavior by Egremont's Selectmen

Saturday July 27, 2013

To the editor of THE EAGLE:

The Egremont board of Selectmen met Monday night, July 22, at the North Egremont fire station. The agenda included "Police Chief: Continue hearing to resolve issues with Egremont Police Chief." It was standing room only.

Many of the folks who attended, including Chief Bucknell, her attorney Michael Akerson and even Egremont’s attorney Jerimia Pollard, seemed taken aback by the Board of Selectmen’s vitriolic and demeaning order of conditions and stipulations that it wanted to impose on Chief Bucknell. Neither Chief Bucknell nor her attorney had seen these conditions and stipulations before the start of the meeting and Egremont’s attorney Pollard had evidently not had a chance to discuss them with the Select Board.

These conditions included:

1. Chief Bucknell would have to be escorted at all times while on town property by either acting part-time police Chief Brian Shaw, assistant office administrator Will Brinker or personnel director William Tighe.

2. All scheduling was to be done by part-time Chief Brian Shaw.

3, Chief Bucknell would report to acting Chief Shaw, who would be her supervisor.

4. Chief Bucknell would not be allowed to converse with any Egremont patrolmen or town employees.

5. Chief Bucknell would have to waive her rights to run the Egremont police department as prescribed by Mass General Law Chapter 41 section 97A.

6. Chief Bucknell would have to agree not to file any lawsuits against the town or board of Selectmen and agree not to retaliate against any Egremont police officer.

After inquiring about the details of these conditions and stipulations and clarifying them, attorney Akerson wrote them on a blackboard, pointed out how inconsistent, demeaning and unworkable they were and painstakingly dismissed them as unacceptable.

Selectman Charles Flynn then made a motion that Chief Bucknell resign immediately and if she failed to do so be fired on July 31. No second was made by Selectmen Bruce Turner or Mary Brazie.

After some further discussions, Selectman Brazie asked for a private meeting between the Selectmen and Chief Bucknell to try to resolve the issues. As an act of good faith Chief Bucknell agreed to the meeting so long as the meeting included her lawyer and Egremont’s lawyer.

In the opinion of the undersigned, the actions of the Egremont selectmen were not only demeaning but devastating to Chief Bucknell’s reputation but were without any reasonable basis in logic and showed once again bad behavior by the Selectmen.

Egremonters should be ready financially to pay for a major lawsuit if the Egremont Selectmen don’t clean up their act. RICHARD BURDSALL






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